Animal dentist Dr. Doug Winter visited the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo on Wednesday. He came prepared to perform a root canal on the female Lar Gibbon named Rerun, but her broken canine turned out to be in worse shape than expected and she had two teeth removed instead, Zoo Supervisor and Animal Curator Sara Hamlin said.
The broken canine was discovered during Rerun’s annual physical last month.
Dr. Winter from Midwest Animal Dentistry & Oral Surgery in Wichita is one of the few practicing board-certified veterinary dentists and oral surgeons in the nation, and has handled cases all over the world, Hamlin said. His team started by performing several X-rays on Rerun’s teeth.
“We had hoped to save the tooth but discovered that the crack was too deep and that the best course of action would be to remove the whole tooth,” Hamlin said. “The crack went through the tooth and up to the gum line.”
In the afternoon Rerun was given a light NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) for pain relief and returned to her quarters.
The staff will be watching Rerun closely for signs of discomfort. “Animals are really good at covering their pain,” Hamlin said. She will be given soft foods to eat for the next week.
“Rerun is on the road to recovery and isn’t expected to have any complications.”
In other zoo news, on Dec. 24, 2018, the staff had to say goodbye to Chunga the African Crested Porcupine.
“Staff made the difficult decision to euthanize him after he suddenly showed signs of serious illness,” Hamlin posted on Facebook. “A necropsy was performed by the veterinarian and while we won’t have a full diagnosis until all the lab work comes back, it appears that he was suffering from kidney failure. Chunga was 15 1/2 years old and had lived at our zoo most of his life. He will be missed.”
Hamlin said the zoo still has one African Crested Porcupine, named Kojack.
Also in December, the staff introduced Swanson, the male Trumpeter Swan, to the new female that arrived about a month and a half earlier. “It wasn’t love at first sight but they are peacefully coexisting and we hope that will turn into love,” staff reported.
Some of the animals received wrapped presents for Christmas. After all, who doesn’t enjoy unwrapping presents? A video of some of the winter enrichment gifts/activities for keeping the animals engaged on cold days indoors can be seen on the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo Facebook page. Toby the Leopard plays with a hanging jolly ball; Ester the Lemur plays with a blanket, Akida the Serval Cat can be seen licking wet food out of a Kong toy, and Poppy the Binturong has to work at pulling her diet of raw vegetables out of a bird suet feeder.